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Wypall enlists crew chiefs to promote Phoenix's fall Nationwide Series race

By Michael Smith
Special to the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

Wypall, the Kimberly-Clark line of industrial strength wipes and shop towels, plans to use two current crew chiefs and a crew chief-turned TV analyst when it title-sponsors the Nationwide Series race at Phoenix in November.

An announcement is expected this week before Phoenix’s Sprint Cup event on Saturday. Financial terms were not released, but Nationwide race title sponsorships go in the low to mid-six figures.

The Wypall 200 will give the brand a platform to promote its association with Fox Sports analyst and former crew chief Jeff Hammond, as well as the current crew chiefs for Sprint Cup drivers Marcos Ambrose and Jeff Burton.

Wypall pitches itself as "The Crew Chief’s Choice," and unlike many sponsors that use drivers as their spokesmen, it is using crew chiefs to build an identity in the sport. Hammond will be on a media tour this week in Phoenix to talk about the Wypall 200 in November.

Wypall has personal services deals with Hammond, Frank Kerr of Ambrose’s No. 47 team and Todd Berrier of Burton’s No. 31 team. All three appear on the front page of Wypall’s website, which is the home for the Crew Chief Challenge, a seasonlong contest to determine the best Sprint Cup crew chief.

To promote the race and its new name, Wypall will create a new web page that will feature unique content from its crew chiefs as well as merchandise and ticket giveaways.

"I can’t think of another sponsorship that has tapped into the crew chiefs as much as this has," said Bryan Sperber, president at Phoenix International Raceway. "We’re going to be very active from a social-networking standpoint to get the word out about Wypall’s site to those in the PIR community."

The site isn’t expected to launch for another month, but it will provide Wypall with about six months of promotion leading up to its Nationwide race on Nov. 13, televised by ESPN2. In addition to content provided by Wypall’s crew chiefs, the sponsor will have a regular schedule of giveaways on the site.

The track said a recent social-networking honor for its work on Facebook and Twitter helped sell the deal. PIR was named a 2009 winner by the Society for New Communications Research, a nonprofit foundation that studies new media.

Michael Smith is a reporter with SportsBusiness Journal.